10 things to know today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday:
AP Wire
Dec 2, 2013

1. OFFICIALS PROBE DEADLY NYC COMMUTER TRAIN DERAILMENT

Investigators looking into the Metro-North wreck are due to examine factors ranging from track conditions to the crew's performance.

2. WORST TECH ISSUES MAY BE OVER FOR HEALTH CARE SITE, BUT WORK REMAINS

Federal workers and private contractors are reworking the system, but the White House says some could still encounter trouble.

3. BLACK FRIDAY WEEKEND DRAWS RECORD CROWDS, BUT SPENDING DOWN

More than 140 million people were expected to shop over the four-day weekend, but spending was expected to fall.

4. HOW TEACHERS ARE INCORPORATING COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS

The academic benchmarks adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia are forcing educators to work on critical thinking over memorization.

5. NUMBER OF SLAIN IRAQIS WORRIES UN

The organization says at least 7,157 civilians and 952 Iraqi security forces have been killed since January.

6. EGYPT PANEL COMPLETES REVISIONS ON CHARTER

The document is to be handed over to interim President Adly Mansour, who has a month to call for a nationwide referendum on it.

7. A PRICE JUMP FOR '10 LORDS A LEAPING'

The cost of the dancing dukes rises 10 percent to $5,243, according to PNC Wealth Management; Other items in the Christmas carol go for about the same as last year.

8. WHO'S WATCHING FOR POISON POT

A forensic botanist and her students at the University of New Haven, Conn., are developing a new process to detect contaminants in marijuana.

9. TRAGIC END FOR HOLLYWOOD RACING HERO

Investigators say speed was a factor in the death of 'Fast & Furious' star Paul Walker, killed in a fiery one-car crash in L.A.

10. SHAKEUP IN AP'S TOP 25 POLL

Auburn jumps to the third slot in the college football rankings after the Tigers upset Alabama; Florida State claims the top spot, Ohio State takes second.

Comments

Vladtheimp

#2. The website is not the problem: CMS Turns A Deaf Ear to the Pleas of Aged, Infirm, Disabled and Dying Americans

"The National Association for Home Care & Hospice has produced studies showing that the Medicare home health benefit has already endured more than its fair share of cuts. The benefit has been cut a disproportionate $78 billion since 2009. Add in the newly imposed cut and $100 billion in cuts will have been taken from the most popular and most-needed Medicare program. And as a result of these cuts by the end of 2017, 75 percent of Medicare-certified agencies will be forced under water with profit margins of zero or less.

“The clear conclusion is that saving money is more important to CMS than serving those who are so sick they cannot leave home without assistance,” Halamandaris pointed out. “It is obvious that they turned a deaf ear to our pleas on behalf of aged, infirm, disabled, and dying Americans.” http://www.nahc.org/NAHCReport/n...

deuce liti

If only you could give them eternal youth, eh Dracula? Wink! wink!

Vladtheimp

Yes, I would repeal Obamacare's Death Panels and at least give them a shot at surviving. (At this point I guess I could also respond "Bite Me" Wink! Wink!)

Lanivan

The areas of palliative, hospice, elder, and end-of-life care are perhaps those areas of health care most in need of cost containment and effectiveness studies as the tsunami of aging baby-boomers hits. As I've mentioned, a recent experience has shown me that the current protocols are alarmingly wasteful, ineffective, unresponsive, and expensive.

The Affordable Care Act, which has pushed myriad quality measures for providers and health insurance companies, said on Friday that hospices that fail to “meet quality reporting requirements will receive a two percentage point reduction to their market basket update beginning in FY 2014,” which begins Oct. 1 of this year, according the the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which runs the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly.

The move comes at a time hospitals, doctors and providers of medical-care of all kinds are being coaxed away from fee-for-service medicine to an era when they are paid base on the value of medical care that they provide. Translation: they must provide quality care or be punished in the form of less payment.

When it comes to palliative care, Obamacare makes some headway as well. Under the Affordable Care Act, hospitals now face huge penalties when Medicare patients are repeatedly readmitted for chronic or recurrent conditions. This is expected to boost the use of palliative care, which has been shown to reduce patients’ dependence on emergency rooms and need for hospitalization. Palliative care is also available in a growing number of children’s hospitals.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/20...

My recommendations for elder care planning, based on current state of affairs: a.) Whatever one thinks elder care expenses will be, and plans accordingly, double it. b.) Establish, ahead of time, an advocate for you who is knowledgeable in medical, insurance, and Medicare rules. This should be someone who can help out if one becomes too infirm to advocate for themselves.

Oh - and those cuts to Medicare and Social Security? Those Wascally Wepublicans are at it again! If Republicans were truly concerned with reducing our debt, they would have done so when they were in office. And they would be in favor of the Affordable Care Act, which the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates will reduce, not increase, our deficits over the next two decades. Indeed, the ACA is our country's best chance at bending the cost curve on health care costs, the primary driver of our nation's long-term debt. Moreover, they would not now be seeking to repeal the medical device tax, whose repeal would increase the deficit by $30 billion over the next decade.

No, the Ryan Republicans who are now seeking to cut Social Security benefits or else sabotage our economy with government default, are not truly concerned with reducing our debt. They are concerned with cutting taxes on the wealthy and cutting the earned benefits of American workers.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/be...

Vladtheimp

No matter the barrage of factoids and opinions, the truth remains, and can't be denied, that Obama cuts $100 billion from the most popular and most-needed Medicare program, and that in a few short years 75 percent of Medicare-certified agencies will be forced under water with profit margins of zero or less. The question is: where was this money redistributed? Inquiring minds want to know.

By the way, you are absolutely correct about the costs of elder care. We have a parent in an assisted living facility whose care is expensive - which is why my wife and I (responsible chumps that we are) have been paying dearly for long term care insurance instead of depending on Obama to shift those costs to other citizens.

Lanivan

"No matter the..facts.."?? You seem to be mixing metaphors, again - either that or are alarmingly mis/disinformed.

Back in 2009 and 2010, one of the harshest criticisms of President Obama’s health care law was that it would hurt seniors. The law’s $700 billion in cuts to Medicare over 10 years would deprive seniors of benefits and choices, critics said. Of particular concern was the plan to cut more than $100 billion out of a quasi-governmental program called Medicare Advantage, which allows seniors to get government-funded private insurance plans in place of traditional Medicare.

Four years later, with the ACA in place, it appears that worries about the future of Medicare Advantage have not come to fruition — at least not yet. The program is more popular than ever. Between 2010 and 2013, enrollment in the program increased 30%, defying the expectations of some of the top policy experts in Washington.

But Republicans have not given up. Some still say the program is in jeopardy thanks to Obamacare. “The chances are that soon [seniors] will open up the mail to the bad news that your Medicare Advantage … has been changed in a negative way for you because of Obamacare,” said Senator Marco Rubio recently, even though premiums, plan choices and benefits under Medicare Advantage have remained stable even with less money for the program.

Read more: Obamacare’s Reviled Medicare Cuts Have Turned Out Better Than Expected | TIME.com http://nation.time.com/2013/10/1...

Meanwhile, surely you know that most assisted living facilities are private pay and don't accept Medicaid, and thus "Obama" has nothing to do with the costs and expenses one incurs in those facilities. Actually, this is a nightmare situation in the making. At anywhere from $4,000-$6,000/month, it doesn't take more than a few years to dry up the proceeds of the sale of a average home. But if one is no longer able to stay at home and receive home health care, but is not infirm enough to qualify for admission into a nursing home (which does accept Medicaid), and runs out of money while in assisted living, you are SOL. This is a major personal concern of assisted living administrators I have spoken with, and it will eventually impact millions of baby boomers who will be retiring with limited savings, no pension, a house with reduced value, and a 401k that may or may not get them through 20+ years of living, depending on US financial/banking/economic health.

You and your wife are smart "chumps" to plan ahead with long term care insurance, regardless of who will be president at the time you cash in your chips. I know I will be fighting tooth and nail the Republican goal of threatening cuts in Medicare and Social Security as ransom for no increase in revenues in the current budget negotiations. They are in essence doing nothing but turning their backs on millions of retiring citizens to attain an ideological victory for a manufactured 'debt crisis'.

bigdeal

#8. grow your own & know what is in it. Test it yourself. Poison pot- good one, like when the US sprayed paraquat on it in south America and it all made it's way into the US? Let us all know when you find any poison pot so it doesn't get smoked. Call it a 'green alert'. lol

There are 3 bills that will be considered by the Michigan House of Representatives on December 5th. They include HB 4271, the Provisioning Centers Act, HB 5104 and SB 660. Please write the clerk a short email, pro or con, if these bills will affect you in any way.
http://thecompassionchronicles.c...

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